4 Publishing Support for OpenHawks

As you’ve seen, OER publishing involves a lot of moving parts. From writing, to formatting, to reviewing, accessibility testing, and piloting, it can feel like you’re trying to build the ship while sailing it. But you don’t have to do all the work by yourself. The OpenHawks program can help connect you with collaborators, help scope your project into manageable short and long-term goals, assist with peer-review, copyediting, layout and design, and accessibility checking. That’s why we’re here!

Project management assistance

During our first check-in meeting, we’ll discuss the rough plan for completing your OER. I’ll ask you some questions about how you envision your final OER—how will it look, how long will it be, how it will be used in class, who will fill what roles on your team. And you will have a chance to ask any questions you may have, as well. This will help us articulate the long-term goals of the project and the steps that will need to be taken to get there.

At subsequent check-ins, we’ll revisit the goals set at the last meeting, discuss progress made and any issues that may have arisen, talk about next steps, and go over any needs you may have. We’ll also talk about any supports you may need.

Below are some specific ways that OpenHawks can support you during your project. If you’d like to take advantage of any of these services, just mention it at your next OpenHawks check-in meeting.

Finding collaborators

Developing OER usually means working with other people. Some OpenHawks authors come into their project with a team in place and roles already assigned, but most do not. In our early meetings, we will spend some time talking about who else you will need to involve. Will you need to find additional writers, editors, illustrators, videographers, or interviewers? Are there UI departments or offices that might be able to help with a particular issue? Will you need to hire collaborators outside the university? OpenHawks can help answer these questions and facilitate connections.

Support for alt-text and image captions

As we cover in the accessibility section of this book and at orientation, each image included in your OER should include alt-text that describes the content of the image for those with visual disabilities. Sometimes, charts, figures, and other images that are particularly information-dense may require a full caption or long description to accompany the image. If creating and formatting this text seems daunting, we can create them for you.

Citation and attribution help

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that government entities (like University of Iowa) make all publicly facing websites (including OER) comply with accessibility standards. That means that the OER we create must use the best practices outlined by the World Wide Web Consortium W3C in its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.2. You can find much of this information condensed in the accessibility section of this book, but OpenHawks will also conduct an accessibility check on each OER at the time of project submission.

Formatting goes hand-in-hand with accessibility and involves the structuring of text and other content for maximum usability. Using the built-in formatting structures found in your authoring tools will go a long way toward producing a well-formatted OER. The Libraries also has a good deal of support for helping with layout, design, and general formatting.

Book set-up and manuscript import for text-based projects

Most text-based OER is outlined, compiled, and written in Word, Google Docs, LibreTexts, or other familiar word processing tools. Then, when the manuscript is complete, or close to complete, authors import it into their chosen authorship tool to publish it.

This process varies in complexity depending on the amount of multimedia you’re using, the numbers of sections and chapters in your OER, the amount of custom formatting required, your level of comfort with HTML text editors, and many other factors.

Rather than manage this all yourself, you can let us handle some or all of it for you. We can import manuscripts into Pressbooks, set up your book template for you, and/or enter your book and chapter level metadata.

Peer-review facilitation

Before your OER is added to Iowa Research Online, it will need to be peer reviewed by at least two colleagues in your field.  Some authors facilitate this themselves by reaching out to other academics in their field of study and asking them to provide feedback.

You can also provide me with the names of potential reviewers, and I can organize the review and feedback for you. Some authors prefer this method as it allows you to focus on writing and revision and removes some of the stress of soliciting and waiting for feedback.


Even if you’ve proofread your OER 100 times, you will still need someone to go over the finished product and copyedit it. Beginning in 2024, we will have copyediting and accessibility checks into our standard workflow.





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Getting Started with Open Educational Resources Copyright © 2019 by Mahrya Burnett, Jenay Solomon, Heather Healy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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